Park Bench Theatre, by York Theatre Royal, is a series of socially-distanced monologues for all ages, presented in the beautiful setting of Rowntree Park. As this is an outdoor theatre production it means that the audience can easily follow government social distancing guidelines but in a relaxed, fun manner.
I was kindly asked by York Mumbler to go and investigate what it was all about. We were booked in to see the 1.30pm performance of Teddy Bears’ Picnic so we decided to arrive a bit earlier to burn off a bit of steam in the play park first of all. The ‘doors’ opened 1 hour before the performance start time to allow the audience to arrive at their leisure to avoid queuing up to get in. The performance took place in the Friends Garden at Rowntree Park, and large 2-3 metre ‘family bubble’ circles had been painted on the grass so you could comfortably layout your picnic rug, set up your camping chairs or park up your buggy to enjoy a picnic, with your teddy bears of course, before the performance began.
All guests were issued with a receiver to plug head phones into to hear the music and performance clearly. You may bring your own headphones to plug in or you can also purchase some for £1. They were very simple and easy for the kids to use and adjust the volume.
The performance is inspired by the song and based on an original idea by Julian Butler. The story follows a lady called Jo, who we instantly recognised as Cassie from our favourite story telling team Crafty Tales.
Every year Jo’s family used to have a big family gathering. A teddy bears’ picnic. It was brilliant. And then she got too old and too cool for that kind of thing. So she stopped going. But now she’s a grown up…kinda…she wishes she could have them all over again.
The performance takes place around a park bench in monologue style. Jo interacts with the audience making them think, laugh and play along in their family bubbles. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and found it to be very relaxing, funny and a great add on to your visit to Rowntree Park.
There is access the toilets at Rowntree park. Facemasks are not required to be worn at any point during arrival, departure or during the performance as this is an outdoor performance.
Teddy Bears’ Picnic is on till the 5th September, with 2 showings a day at 11.30am or 1.30pm. The performance lasts for 30 minutes and costs £5 per person. Tickets must be booked in advance and can be booked here.
Photo credit to Northedge Photography for official show images.
York Mumbler were given tickets to this show in exchange for a Guest review by local Mumbler, Holly from Yorkshire Brand Stories, all opinions are her own and we’ll always give an honest review.